Here’s How to Celebrate a COVID Thanksgiving With a Whole New Level of PRAISE!
COVID-19 has changed everything—including how Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving this week.
Like millions of others, just our nuclear family will gather around the table in our home in order to protect our health.
But we will not let the deadly COVID-19 that is gripping our land to dampen the celebration we share together before tasting the turkey!
Prior to tackling our Thanksgiving feast, here’s what we do every year: First we share around the circle what we’re thankful for—family, friends, health, work, our salvation. Now I assume we’ll add to the list the coming vaccine!
However this year, in direct defiance of the evil virus (!), my family is going to do something we’ve never done before: We’re going to take our praises to God to a whole new level!
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “[Jesus’] name is not so much written as ploughed into the history of the world.”
Despite all that we have faced and suffered in 2020, still during these past months Jesus has continued to be “ploughed” into our lives day after day, in ways seen and unseen—working into us his overpowering grace, irresistible love, prevailing wisdom, and redeeming reign.
Not in spite of the pandemic but through the pandemic, he has revealed himself to us in special ways that have helped us to see our Savior is so much more than we had ever known him to be.
So, simply saying prayers of thanksgiving about physical blessings and relationships—as wonderful as they may be—just seems to fall short of what Jesus deserves this year.
As my friend Chris Heinz suggests: To pray the same old thankful prayers would be “like pouring out sand when we should be naming stars.”
Here’s what will be different for us. Instead of just sharing our gratitude for general blessings, we intend to climax our praises with responses to this question:
What about the person of the reigning Christ are you thankful for this year?
With this approach, we will shine the light on the PERSON of Jesus—not just on what Jesus has done, not just on what Jesus is currently doing, not even on what Jesus has promised to do in the future.
Rather, our Thanksgiving prayers will express our praises for who Jesus IS, right now. To see it another way, consider these two questions:
What qualities of Jesus are you most thankful for this year?
What is it about who Jesus IS that makes you glad the most?
Imagine this happening at Thanksgiving tables all over America on Thursday:
People are not only fat and full of turkey and stuffing but also fat and full in their hearts with the praises of Jesus that we offer together based on who he is today.
In other words, before we pass to each other the cranberry sauce, we pass to the Father expressions of celebration about his dear Son because of how much more Jesus has come to mean to us in 2020.
And at the same time, by doing so, we also expand each other’s view of Jesus so that he becomes even more desirable for each other—before the physical feast begins as well as long after it is over.
In other words, we end up “ploughing” Jesus into each other before we “plough” into the mashed potatoes and gravy!
What a FEAST this would be! Thanksgiving 2020 would be remembered as a moment when around our table—even if it is with only one or two others—we ended up tasting the greatness of Jesus, sharing him with each other, and getting our hearts filled up with more of him—doing so together.
How can everyone prepare for this new dimension of giving thanks? Here are four suggestions:
- LISTEN to my most recent 30-minute episode of the CHRIST TODAY Podcast—episode 163: “Powerful Thanksgiving prayers only JESUS can give us.” Access it here.
- VIEW the 10-minute segment from THE CHRIST INSTITUTES VIDEO SERIES that provides you amazing “categories” for thinking about (and praising) the supremacy of Christ. Watch it here.
- LEARN about “The 365 Names for Jesus in the Bible” daily devotions, any one of which gives you something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day—as well as all year through! Find out more here.
- ENJOY some of the video clips (approximately 1 minute each) about the glories of Christ by scrolling down the home page of ChristNow.com here to “Samplings of Christ.” Each clip provides inspiring fuel for your Thanksgiving praises!
May what Paul encourages all Jesus followers to do in 2 Corinthians 9:15 become your practice this special holiday season:
Thank God for his Son—
his GIFT too wonderful for words!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com. Enjoy his regular CHRIST TODAY podcast.
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